Always Choose Love

Growing up I was a big fan of Jim Carrey mostly because I totally loved, loved, loved Ace Ventura. Ace Ventura plus The Truman Show, and the fact that Jim grew up very near where I did, made his rise to stardom particularily inspiring.This winter I watched Jim & Andy, which sent me down a bit of a Jim Carrey rabbit hole and culminated in watching this graduation speech. According to Jim we only have two choices in life, the choice between love and fear. IMG_20180120_1103259411I'm sure you have heard how Jim Carrey manifested his financial success by writing himself a cheque for ten million dollars, and five years later cashed a real one for the precise amount. In that commencement speech he holds himself up as proof that we have powerful minds which can be used to achieve our greatest desires. All we have to do is ask the Universe for what we want.I think this message resonates with me because it aligns so well with yogic philosophy, which states 'where the mind the goes, the energy flows'. If we focus on what we fear or dont want, guess where our minds are at? Alternatively, we can focus on what we do want and act from a place of positivity and love. With that idea seeded by yoga and watered by my childhood idol, Jim, I set my mind to sharing it with Twill-town!IMG_1752You might recall the spot actually. Last year I installed Life is Shirt here and it only lasted a few weeks. This year I sought permission, reminding myself to be patient and set my mind to assume the best outcome as I waited for a response. And guess what? It worked out perfectly.IMG_1750Thanks to the Universe for the lesson and a special thanks to Ms. Ashbourne for donating this space, located on Twillingate's north side across from Mr & Mrs Scoops.Always Choose Love was installed on Mothers Day and follows a similar knitted string style to this piece-which evolved into this Moose. Watch this space to see what happens to it next. I've got it all lined up for International Yarnbomb Day and am pumped to share with you!IMG_0033.jpegJune is fast approaching and is always the most exciting month of the year here on the blog. With World Wide Knit in Public Day AND International Yarnbomb Day on June 9th-there is a lot to look forward to. Will you be celebrating?IMG_1478I hope you'll join me at the annual event either at the Captains Pub here in Twillingate from 2-4, or at one of the many events taking place worldwide. I am cracking on another community yarnbomb idea (it's been way too long since we officially joined forces), so let me know if you are coming and want to partake in the fun. I could use your help and Twillingate could use your skills! :)And in the mean time/rest of time, let's all try to remember Jim's advice and yogic philosophy and always choose love-especially when it comes to our hopes and aspirations. ❤️

Interview with Montana Banksy

Guys, I am absolutely delighted to share this interview with you! The experience of learning about and sharing Yarn Vandalette's story was so uplifting and fun, that of course I wanted more. Instagram makes it super easy to connect, and interviews let you get to the good stuff, so I suppose it's only natural that I would want to continue to use these platforms to share the inspiring work of some of my favourite guerrilla artists. Today's blog post is all about Montana Banksy, an anonymous artist who makes large-scale sculptures from natural materials that will literally stop you in your tracks!Read on to learn and see more of her work:**********************************************************************************Tell us about yourself and what you do:As Montana Banksy, I make giant land art sculptures, anonymously, and in secret, out of colored river rocks and other natural materials. They are so big that you can walk across them! My largest so far is 35 feet across and I put them in places where people who are enjoying the outdoors might stumble across them by accident.monsterAfter a year or two, the river washes them away, or weeds and erosion overtake them, and then they are gone. Many of my pieces are animals, but the giant trout are what I'm most well known for because people who fish insist that they bring them good luck! I also make mandalas, compasses and spirals, and whatever else seizes my imagination.River rock troutI live in Montana, and my favorite place to work is along the banks of the Yellowstone River. The rocks are varied and beautiful and so is the scenery. And because of how many of my sculptures have anonymously appeared on the 'banks' of the Yellowstone River, a local blogger called me "our own Montana Banksy", and the name stuck.Spiral SunriseNow, I sign each piece I make with a signature stone that has a large, ornate 'M' on it, as well as the name of the piece and the year it was made. I do this in alcohol ink, so it fades with time along with the sculpture.banksymandalasIt is very fun and interesting to see what mother nature does to my art as time goes past. And never once has a sculpture of mine been vandalized by humans, though the signature stones do go missing a lot! :)mandalaprogressHow many pieces have you made? I think there are about 15 to 20 of my pieces still on the ground right now, and there are many more that exist only in photos now. It's a cycle. I create them and Mother Nature erases them and gives me a fresh canvas with fresh rocks every time!BanksyanimalsTell us about your process...It takes me anywhere from a week to complete the smaller pieces (under 8 feet) to an entire month to complete some of the larger ones (15-35 feet), which includes the days I spend collecting and stashing different colored rocks.I like to try to drop the entire piece without ever being seen, so I don't actually start to place the stones until I have amassed a large collection of rocks, ready to use. Then, I work fast to avoid being caught in the middle of construction. I also work fast to avoid Mother Nature interfering before I finish the piece.processA few years ago I was about halfway through a 15 foot horse, when the spring runoff hit the Yellowstone River and the horse went under before I finished it! So, needless to say, when I drop a piece I work as quickly as possible, and even so, it can still take me a many hours!UnfinishedhorseMy biggest piece, at 35 feet, is the Medicine Wheel Compass, and just placing the stones for it took 40 hours. But, with the beautiful scenery and the river, those are easy hours for me!RealcolorsHow do people find your work?Whenever I finish a new piece of art, I post it on Instagram with the GPS coordinates for the people who make a point of seeking them out like a treasure hunt.Some people have told me that they like to try to guess where the installations are from the scenery in my videos. Other people ask me directly where they are (and I tell them!), and other times I have been nearby to witness someone unintentionally find one. That is the best!MTBanksyFoxBeing able to interact with the people who find my art, without having to reveal my identity, is wonderful. People post them on social media a lot and someone will almost always comment "You found a Montana Banksy!" The comments are always so lovely and positive.It fills me with joy knowing others enjoy my art so much too. Between my amazingly supportive husband, and sons, and the people who encourage me on Instagram, I get a lot of support to do what I do. I feel so lucky!How did you get into this totally unique style of guerrilla art? I have always been an artist. I can't remember a time that I wasn't drawing. But I come from a family of scientists and engineers, so I have deep interests in those subjects as well. So, I ended up leaving art school and got my BS in geology instead.
As a geologist, I spend a lot of time on the river looking at rocks. I used to fly fish, and really loved it, but I found myself spending more time playing with the rocks than fish, so I eventually told my husband to stop buying me the fishing license he got for me every year because I preferred to spend my time making rock sculptures! That was when my art started appearing pretty regularly on the shores of the Yellowstone and in the surrounding areas.FishTailWhat has been the communities response?I hadn't thought to share my land art sculptures with anyone beyond the people who accidentally found them, until they showed up on the front page of the newspaper a few years ago! The caption said "...as of press time the artist is still unknown." Ha! I could have claimed my art then, but I decided not to. I thought it would be more fun for people to NOT know who the artist was.IMG_1723The response to my art was amazing though, and very touching! I had no idea how many people loved what I had been doing! That's when I started the Instagram account so I could more effectively share my art. I didn't really think it would get much attention as my sculptures are gigantic and an Instagram post shrinks them to tiny proportions! But, happily, I was wrong.FishTailHeartPeople from all over the world have told me how much they love what I do and how it inspires them. They send me photos of their daughters, inspired by my work, making art with rocks, and I get all misty eyed! There is nothing better than that for an artist! I really love doing this and have no intention of stopping any time soon. It makes people so happy, and gives me so much joy to do. It's a win-win.********************************************************************************Each time I read through this I feel more imaginative and inspired; How about you? Thanks so much to Montana Banksy for taking the time to share her story and for all the positive, creative energy she's putting out there. I feel lucky to share the good vibrations! Be sure to follow her work on Instagram @montanabanksy and definitely let us both know if you are inspired to rock some sculptures yourself! And if you follow any particularly great guerrilla artists who you'd like to hear more from- or are one yourself, hit me up! You knows I love hearing from you!

Every day, In every way...

Sometimes I think making crafty street art is a very strange hobby. I spend hours stitching up new projects, display them at home for a couple days and then release them to the wilds. I cant say exactly what drives it all except the desire to surprise and delight. Today though, my crafty street art has purpose, and that is to surprise, delight and conduct a scientific experiment!Somewhere in Thailand I realized the great potential of street art to communicate ideas about anything and everything, but ideas around wellness are what got me excited. Do you remember the Hoppiness Frog and when I craft-bombed my spouse with his mantra, Will Can Do?img_1265I have long been fascinated by the idea of using Positive Psychology and loving self talk to promote an optimal state of being. And of course, my crafty street art provides a fun and unique way to think about and then share these ideas with everyone (and their dog).I came across this affirmation while reading a book by Tony Robbins and it took me aback. It's such a powerful idea that it could almost be frightening to engage with. The flip side is, by engaging with it, I allow myself to take on an attitude of continual growth and development-which is essential in setting goals and dealing with setbacks.IMG_1654This mantra is actually ascribed to Emile Coue, a psychologist and pharmacist who 'prescribed' it, as a form of auto-suggestion, to clients in the early 1900's to promote self healing. He believed that a daily, twenty minute regiment repeating this mantra, combined with medication, could dramatically improve physical and mental ailments. Proponents of the field of Positive Psychology would take this a step further and suggest that it's a strategy to promote not just healing, but flourishing!The theory behind both schools of thought is that any idea that exclusively occupies the mind turns to reality. I love this stuff and figure that regardless of whether it's  proven to the highest of scientific standards, it's fun to think about.IMG_1732That said, I've decided to run my own, Twillingate-based experiment to get to the bottom of this. What do you think? Would your thoughts and belief about yourself change if you repeated this to youself each day? Could it then result in a quantifiable improvement in your health and well-being?IMG_1488This crafty street art is placed at the top of the hill connecting Twillingate and Durrell. It overlooks the harbour and Twill-town and given the amazing vista, is a popular walking route. I've changed my commute to pass it each morning, and must admit, feel wonderful while repeating it with emotional intensity the rest of my drive! IMG_1807It's only been up a week now, so I can't officially comment on it's effects but so far, it's looking very positive!

Street Art & Crafts

Knitting is definitely my main craft-squeeze, but every once and awhile I get a hankering for something different.The term 'Street craft' seems to describe my crafting preferences the best. It's a combination of  street-art +craft thus all crafty forms are welcome ie. knitting/embroidery/cross-stitch, all in an urban...or rural art setting. Looking back through the blog archives, I am reminded of some awesome, early projects and suspect that compiling them in one post will paint an entertaining picture of what street-craft is, Rock Vandals style!img_0504Here are a few of my favourite projects from the past; some of which are solo projects, some of which come from the gang. Perhaps they will inspire you to get involved in this highly accessible and playful form of street-art or make you look around your own community differently. Whatever the case definitely let us know what you think by commenting below or reaching out through social media. Hearing from you is a big part of the fun!Here we go:1) 0 Lives Remaining: This was a very cool project by Tronon&on intended to comment on the preciousness of life. It also stokes the ultimate question relating to what lies beyond! The crafty component of this project was donated (as a set of 5 no less) by Knit2, the very first Rock Vandals gang member.I take my knitted hat off to both of these amazing gangsters!image2) Art abandonment is where art is made and then left in public for strangers to take. Mo Wren is a New Brunswick based artist and RV-gang member who's very into this form of street craft.She participated generously in the Old Manolis & the Sea campaign by creating the zine, spearheading an installation in Canada's capital city AND knitting multiple starfish, one of which she left for a stranger at the Aquarium du Québec.Old Manolis and the Sea Zine3) Sticker Letters open up all sorts of potential project ideas. They are clean and official looking so this can make them extra fun to use. Here are a couple examples where I used sticker letters in rural street art. For what its worth, I also found them incredibly useful around the house!
5) Cross Stitched fence H'art: This project remains a highlight in terms of installation-bliss! It was my first and only attempt at cross stitch. I used parachute cord and one year on, this piece has weathered the North Atlantic storms very well. It's the only surviving piece of this post's collection thus still available for Twillingate-based selfies. If you want to pose with some really impressive embroidered street craft though, you'll have to make your way to Germany to see Miss Cross Stitch's work.image5) Leafy Encouragement: This project was so simple and allowed multiple opportunties to be punny; this is excellent squared in my books!IMG_07166) Potholes of Gold: Pothole season hit Twillingate hard in 2015 and as a result it inspired creative-action. I cant say for sure, but I can say for 'pretty sure' that that summers ensueing road repairs were a direct result of the Rock Vandals glittery protest. Pothole art is a mischievous form of street craft but also one that requires special attention to safety. Be especially cautious if playing in the streets, my friends!IMG_0500So there you have it: Street craft Rock Vandals style! Perhaps next time, ill round up some knitting to include in the fun!Knit well, Be well.